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Week 8's college football bets, odds lack star power, Tennessee-Alabama, Utah-USC the best of the bunch

After last week's stacked card, the schedule of national games this week looks pretty gruesome. There are still a few games out there that look like they could produce some winners, though.

Derrick Henry and Alabama hope to stay in the College Football Playoff race with a win against Tennessee
Derrick Henry and Alabama hope to stay in the College Football Playoff race with a win against Tennessee
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

What a week it was last week for MC&J. USC and Arizona State had leads in the second half before they imploded and destroyed any hopes of a perfect. At least I was able to hit an Ohio State game for the first time since the opening weekend of the season. Enough of the patting on the back though, since last week's success means nothing if I pick a bunch of duds this week.

Last week ATS: 10-2 (4-2 National, 6-0 B1G)

Season ATS: 51-49-3 (17-16-2 National, 34-33-1 ATS)

National games (All games Saturday unless otherwise noted):

#18 Memphis (-10.5) v. Tulsa - Friday 8:00 p.m. - ESPN

Last week saw Memphis secure one of the biggest wins in school history with a 37-24 win over Ole Miss at the Liberty Bowl. Friday will see the Tigers try to fight off a letdown against Tulsa as Memphis tries to stay undefeated. Paxton Lynch is boosting his draft stock each week, throwing for over 300 yards in each of his last five games. With games against Navy, Houston, and Temple ahead in November, the Tigers will have to stay sharp in this game against Tulsa, and against Tulane next week.

Tulsa might only be 3-3 on the year, but two of those losses came to Houston and Oklahoma. Even in those games, the offense of the Golden Hurricanes was able to move the football and score at least 30 points. The same couldn't be said in last week's 30-17 loss to East Carolina. Still, the Tigers can't sleep on quarterback Dane Evans and his talented wide receivers. I think Memphis keeps their undefeated season alive, but Tulsa makes them work hard for the victory.

Memphis 44 Tulsa 37

#6 Clemson (-6.5) v. Miami (FL) - 12:00 p.m. - ABC

After spending most of the season at Death Valley, Clemson will hit the road for just the second time this season. The last time Clemson played a road game came over a month ago when the Tigers slipped past Louisville 20-17. Each week it looks like Clemson is getting better, with quarterback Deshaun Watson throwing for 420 yards in an easy 34-17 win over Boston College last week. The big question is, will the Tigers do that thing that Dabo Swinney doesn't want us to talk about anymore? Is it past Clemson or are we gonna see it pop up at some point?

After losses to Cincinnati and Florida State, Miami rebounded to beat Virginia Tech last weekend. It's still hard to know what to make of the Hurricanes this year, especially with the uncertainty of Al Golden's future in Coral Gables. Even with that, Miami still has Brad Kaaya at quarterback, and the sophomore has been really good this year, throwing for 10 touchdowns and only one interception. I sort of do like the Hurricanes in this spot, especially with Clemson being unfamiliar with hitting the road. I don't think Miami has enough to pull the upset, but at least I could see them keeping this within a touchdown.

Clemson 31 Miami (FL) 27

Tennessee v. #8 Alabama (-15.5) - 3:30 p.m. - CBS

After losing close games to Oklahoma, Florida, and Arkansas, it would have been easy for Tennessee to pack it in when they were down 24-3 in the first half against Georgia. Kudos to the Volunteers for battling back to beat the Bulldogs a couple weeks ago. Butch Jones' team had a week off to prepare for Alabama, something they desperately needed if they have designs on ending a 22-game losing streak on the road to ranked teams.

Alabama used three pick-sixes to take down Texas A&M in College Station last weekend 41-23. Since losing to Ole Miss, the Crimson Tide has forced 11 turnovers in four games, including four interception returns for touchdowns. A few weeks ago Alabama hit the road and beat Georgia, and followed it up by failing to cover against Arkansas at home. I get the feeling we get something similar on Saturday following their win over a ranked team on the road. Alabama might be in control for most of the game but a late touchdown covers it for the Volunteers.

Alabama 28 Tennessee 17

#15 Texas A&M v. #24 Ole Miss (-6) - 7:00 p.m. - ESPN

Kyle Allen threw four touchdowns last week. Too bad three of them were to Alabama, as the Crimson Tide rolled over the Aggies 41-23. How quickly one game can change things for Texas A&M. Last week they were undefeated and were hoping to keep pace with LSU in the SEC West. Now the Aggies need a win if they want to stay alive in the race to get to the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta.

The loss by Ole Miss last Saturday in Memphis didn't hurt their SEC West chances, but the loss a couple weeks ago to Florida puts the Rebels in the same boat as Texas A&M, where a loss on Saturday would greatly damage their SEC West hopes. Not only did Ole Miss lose to Memphis last week, but defensive end Robert Nkemdiche also suffered a concussion while playing offense, and his status for Saturday's game is still up in the air. The Rebels also lost center Robert Conyers for the year to a torn ACL, but at least will get All-American left tackle Laremy Tunsil back from a seven-game suspension.

Not only should it be fun to watch Christian Kirk and Laquon Treadwell try to one-up each other, but even better should be Myles Garrett against Laremy Tunsil. I could see Tunsil being rusty and Garrett getting in the face of Chad Kelly early and often. The Aggies avenge last year's 35-20 loss in College Station.

Texas A&M 27 Ole Miss 24

#3 Utah v. USC (-3.5) - 7:30 p.m. - Fox

With each win by Utah, they strengthen their case to make the College Football Playoff, but the Utes know they have to keep it since the season is only half over. Last week the Utes looked to be in trouble against Arizona State in Salt Lake City, but Utah used a fourth quarter in which they outscored the Sun Devils 20-0 on their way to 34-18 win. Utah isn't playing flashy football, but they have been clutch when it counts. While Travis Wilson is making plays with his arm and legs, the real workhorse of the offense has been Devontae Booker, who has rushed  161 times for 783 yards and eight touchdowns this season.

USC may have been going through a lot of off-the-field issues lately with the recent firing of Steve Sarkisian, but the big on-the-field issue has been with how bad Cody Kessler is lately. After starting the season with 15 touchdown passes and no interceptions, Kessler has thrown five picks in the last three games. JuJu Smith-Schuster has been a beast for USC this year, but he isn't getting much help. I want to find a reason to take USC in this one, but I just don't like laying the points against a very solid Utah team. The Utes have posted a +12 turnover margin this year, and with USC's turnover problems lately, I'll take the points.

Utah 34 USC 27